QCOSTARICA – Starting this week, the new Legislative Assembly building in downtown San Jose gets a cleaner look, and allowing people free movement around the building.
This because the Fuerza Publica (National Police) removed the blue and yellow metal barriers that closed off passage on Calle 15 and Avenida 1bars that closed the passage on 15th Street and 1st Avenue, from the Parque Nacional to the Plaza de la Democracia.
The barricades had brought criticism from those inside the building and many on the other side of the fence.
The decision to remove the barriers came after meetings between the Legislative Directorate, the Congress administration and the Fuerza Publica, in the absence of real threats of demonstrations against the draft Public Employment Framework Law.
Moreover, the slowness in the process of this project and the absence of significant concentrations removed the need to close off the permiter.
Originally, the barriers were erected at the request of Congress, choking off passage along the Avenida, between the old and the new legislative buildings, and along the entire south side of the building, adjacent to the Plaza de la Democracia.
Little by little, the perimeter grew, to the point of closing the passage also along Calle 15 and between Aveindas 1 and 3, as well as along Avenida 1, from Calle 11 to 19, also creating a barrier between the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Assembly, to ensure the entry of the legislators to the legislative parking lot.
The extended barriers were due to alleged security threats, despite the fact that only small groups of protesters gathered around the Assembly. Not even in the days of university demonstrations against the public employment plan were the barriers necessary due to lack of protests.
Added to this is the fact that, in reality, while the plenary is in session, four floors underground, the legislators are not aware of anything that is happening around the Legislative Assembly building.
The new legislative president (as of May 1, 2021), Silvia Hernández, assured that, from the legislative Board, the administration was instructed to “contemplate those periods where there is no serious call for security and that free passage be removed or enabled as soon as possible”.
For his part, the executive director of Congress, Antonio Ayales, argued that in reality, the Assembly had nothing to do with the placement or removal of the fences, as he said it was entirely a decision of the Police.
“They have the pulse of the protests. They told us that everything is quiet and they removed them as a sign that they will not be permanent. It is a recommendation from them; they say when they erected them and when they don’t. I imagine it is due to the rhythm of the public employment project, which now has to go to consultation,” Ayales commented.
The administrative head of the Assembly added that covid-19 has also been an important factor so that people do not crowd to demonstrate.